South Dakota cracks down on abortion medications


Emma Minnick, Editor

Later this month, people in South Dakota will face more intensive hurdles in the fight for abortion rights. Previously, medication abortion could begin 72 hours after a professional has met with the pregnant patient. The patient will then take medication that blocks progesterone, a hormone that helps to maintain pregnancy, causing the uterus to flush its contents.

These medications have previously been available through doctor discretion, however, on January 6, South Dakota lawmakers ruled that people seeking these medications must go to an abortion facility in person. This change makes South Dakota the first state to require a visit to obtain abortion medications.

South Dakota governor Kristi Noem (R), voted in support of the restrictive laws in September of 2021. In December 2021, the FDA lifted some of these regulations, but the South Dakotan Rules Review Committee voted to have the restrictions reinstated.

Department of Health attorney Ali Tornow claimed the purpose of the restrictions was to, “…protect the health and safety of women in South Dakota by requiring in-person dispensing of both medications.” However, pro choice advocates, including South Dakota physicians and Planned Parenthood officials, deemed the rule “risky” and “unnecessary.”

Governor Noem looks to make these restrictions permanent, stating, “I look forward to the day when the life of every unborn child is protected in South Dakota.” The future of abortion in South Dakota is uncertain, but for now, it is the only state to enforce these rules onto medication abortion.